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INDIAN STREET FOOD

IN DOWNTOWN ASHEVILLE, NC

 
 

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Indian street food from
twice James Beard nominated chef Meherwan Irani

Chai Pani literally means “tea and water.” It's slang in India for going out for a cup of tea, a tasty bite, a snack, or “a little something.” In Downtown Asheville (and now in Downtown Decatur) it means innovative, fun, affordable and delicious Indian cuisine. We'd go so far as to say it's “mindblasting.”

Some of the best food of any country is its street food, and Chai Pani features chaat - crunchy, spicy, sweet, tangy, brightly flavored Indian street snacks. And because there's nothing more comforting and delicious in any culture than a home cooked meal, Chai Pani also brings you thalis - traditional family meals highlighting India's amazing culinary diversity.

The New York Times was particularly taken by our “fresh, cilantro-strewn takes on Indian street food,” GQ Magazine lauded our “Indian street food with a twang,” and New York Magazine called us "a star in downtown's dining scene.” The Huffington Post had us on their list of "Top 10 Cheap Eats in the US,” and even Fox News.com called us the "hit of their Asheville trip.” (We're just glad we could get them all to agree on one thing)!

We've made it from Bombay to Buncombe, so step off the sidewalk and into the street – Indian Street Food that is. (Couldn't resist!)

From Bombay to Buncombe and Asheville to Atlanta, Chai Pani has extended our love of food, culinary experience, and storytelling to the southeast. The day we opened CHAI PANI ASHEVILLE in 2009 was a testament to will, love and friendship. We ran out of food by midday. As they say, the rest is history ...

In 2012, we opened MG ROAD Bar & Lounge, our stylishly awesome lounge right around the corner from Chai Pani. The team balances technique & tradition with a level of creativity & innovation that’s been written up from Food & Wine Magazine to The Times of India.

We then opened CHAI PANI DECATUR in Decatur, GA in 2013. It has been included in the 'Best Restaurants in Atlanta' list every year it's been open by Atlanta Magazine and Creative Loafing. Pani Puri nights on Fri and Sat are legendary.

Since then, we've added BUXTON HALL BARBECUE, which features wood-smoked, whole-hog barbecue by Chef Elliott Moss in South Slope, Asheville, NC. Low-country curiosities, southern classics, seasonal pies and pastries, local beer, craft cocktails, rotating punches and a daily slushy.

BOTIWALLA is the newest restaurant from Chai Pani and chef Meherwan Irani. Inspired by the tea and kabab houses (known as Irani cafes) of Meherwan's childhood, as well as the grills (sigris) that pop up on the streets of India at night, serving grilled meats and flatbreads to hungry late night commuters, workers and revelers.

 

LOCATION

22 Battery Park Avenue
Downtown Asheville
North Carolina 28801

(828) 254-4003
info@chaipaniasheville.com

We do not take reservations. 

Hours

M-Th 11:30–3:30 / 5:00-9:30
F-Sa 11:30–3:30 / 5:30-10:00
Su 12:00–3:30 / 5:00-9:30

CHECK OUT OUR
OTHER RESTAURANTS:

2017

November

TRAVELFREAK - 11 Mouthwatering Restaurants in Asheville, NC

SPOONS & WHITBY - "A little something" at Asheville's Chai Pani

BON APPÉTIT MAGAZINE - Indian-Spiced Pork Roast

October

ONLY IN YOUR STATE - Foodie Day Trip from Charlotte to Asheville

TRAVEL CHANNEL - Insider's Guide to Asheville

September

ASHVEGAS - Benevolent Spirits Houston

August

ASHEVILLE CITIZEN TIMES - Where to get fried chicken in Asheville

FOOD NETWORK - I Hart Food's Crispy Sweet Potato Fritters

July

WHERE ATLANTA - 5 Best Weekend Escapes from Atlanta

GRUB STREET - Finding Harmony in the Flavors of India and the American South

ZAGAT - Modern Indian Fare is Thriving in Asheville, North Carolina. Here's Why.

WASHINGTON POST - Avocado toast to fried clams: The best food from a cross-country road trip

June

ZAGAT - 14 Reasons to Drive to Asheville

WLOS NEWS 13 - Asheville restaurant raises money for Rise as One project
 

May

CHARLOTTE OBSERVER - 7 Things You Have to do in Asheville (and 3 you don't)

SPOON UNIVERSITY - 20 Restaurants in Asheville, NC to Add to Your Bucket List

SMOKY MOUNTAIN NEWS - Canyon Kitchen Additions, Dinner Series

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Soul Shakedown by the River Returns

April

CITIZEN-TIMES - Short Order: Try this James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinner

GREENVILLE ONLINE - Greenville Food News and Events This Week

CITIZEN-TIMES - Charity Barbecue Festival Features Music, Top Chefs

ASHLEY BROWN WRITING - Highlands Food and Wine Festival Announces 2017 Line-Up!

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Canyon Kitchen Kicks Off 2017 Season with New Dinner Events and Staff, April 27

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small Bites: The Cantina at Historic Biltmore Village asks for Votes Against Hunger

ASHVEGAS - Asheville Sandwich Report: Döner, Shawarma, Pav, Pork Triple Threat & Fried Chicken on a Bun!

NASHVILLE SCENE - 20 Questions: What the City's Food Pros Really Think

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small Bites: Buxton's Beach Bash

CITIZEN-TIMES - Eater: Chai Pani one of South's Essential Restaurants

March

THE CAROLINA EPICUREAN - NOWRUZ: Unity at the Table-a celebratory exploration of diverse culinary traditions

THE HERALD-SUN - Two local restaurants named among Eater’s 38 best Southern restaurants

EATER - The 38 Best Restaurants in the South

TASTE - Appalachian Masala: Cooking at Home with Chai Pani

BON APPÉTIT - How Indian Chefs are Redefining Traditional Indian Dishes

HERITAGE RADIO NETWORK - Episode 53 CHSWFF17: Manet Chauhan and Meherwan Irani

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - Small bites: Food Connection’s Hunger Relief Concert returns to The Grey Eagle

WNC MAGAZINE - The Best of Western North Carolina: Celebrate Our Anniversary with Top 10 Lists of Local Albums, Books, Fishing Spots, Movies, Restaurants, and More

February 

EATER - Watch the First Three Episodes of Chai Pani’s ‘Cutting Chai’ Docuseries

January

HOTELSFX.COM - 0 Reasons Why You Can’t Wait Any Longer to Visit Asheville

CREATIVE LOAFING - Industry Insiders: Meherwan Irani

MOUNTAIN XPRESS - The Breaking Wave: Is Asheville's Restaurant Market Oversaturated?

THE NEWS & OBSERVER - Upcoming Cooking Classes: Chili, Super Foods, Indian Feast

2016

December

SHERMAN'S TRAVEL - The Coolest Town You Haven't Visited

LOCAL ADVENTURER - 49 Best Places to Eat in Asheville NC

OXFORD FILM FESTIVAL - Cutting Chai

November

ZAGAT - The 26 Hottest Food Cities of 2016

THRILLIST - Easy 5-Ingredient Appetizers from Chefs

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC - A Food Lover's Guide to Asheville

THE CITIZEN TIMES - Cutting Chai

October

GARDEN & GUN: Help Eastern North Carolina with Fish Stew

USA TODAY: Tasting Asheville

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Where to Eat Fish Stew to Benefit Hurricane Mathew Recovery Efforts

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: The real meal: Exploring the concept of culinary authenticity

PASTE MAGAZINE: City in a Glass

THRILLIST: Small US Cities with World Class Food Scenes

CONDÉ NAST TRAVELER: The Best Things to Do in Asheville, NC

ONLY IN YOUR STATE: Top 10 Restaurants in North Carolina

TASTING TABLE: Indian Food is Breaking New Ground

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: Chefs Converge in Asheville for Appalachian Food Salon

EATER: Inside the Breakfast Bowl Series: South India's Upma

OZY: Bring on the New Indian Cuisine

PLOUGH TO PANTRY: Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani and Buxton Hall Barbecue

 

2015

NY DAILY NEWS: Asheville is Unlike Anywhere Else in the South

ZAGAT: 10 Reasons to Drive to Asheville, NC

ASHVEGAS: Best of Asheville 2015

FORBES: Top 10 Food and Restaurant Trends of 2015

WALL STREET JOURNAL: Asheville– the South's Inside Destination

YAHOO: Top Emerging Foodie Cities in the US

EXPLORE ASHEVILLE: Chef Meherwan Irani of Chai Pani on Storytelling

TRAVEL + LEISURE: How to Spend a Perfect Weekend in Asheville, NC

MEN'S JOURNAL: 17 Corn Recipes for Summer

ATLANTA MAGAZINE: Chai Pani owner to open new restaurant in Atlanta

FOOD AND WINE: Chef Irani shares his recipe for Vindaloo Flank Steak

BON APPÉTIT: Restaurants to visit in Asheville

CITIZEN TIMES: Chef Irani gets James Beard Nomination

 

2014

GARDEN & GUN: Crispy Okra Fries

JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION: Chef Irani nominated for Best Chef Southeast

USA TODAY: 10 Best: Places for Deep-Fried Food

SERIOUS EATS: Top Notch Indian Street Eats at Chai Pani

 

2013

COCA COLA JOURNEY: Acclaimed Chefs Dish About the Family Table

THE TIMES OF INDIA: Exporting Indian Flavors

FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE: How to Flavor Cocktails with Indian Spices

FOOD & WINE MAGAZINE: Why Food Lovers are Loving Asheville

 

2012

FOX NEWS: Chai Pani "the hit of the trip"

 

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: MG Road Bar & Lounge

KHABAR MAGAZINE: Indian Restaurants - Going for Hip

 

2011

GQ MAGAZINE: Rad City - Asheville, NC

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: Saag Paneer Recipe

ACTIONFEST: Chai Pani Lights Up the Powder Keg

ITINERANT FOODIES: Asheville All-Stars

 

2010

NEW YORK TIMES: 36 Hours in Asheville

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE: A Dream Incarnate

MOUNTAIN XPRESS: It Takes A Village

BOLD LIFE: Street Fare

Check out our
daily specials & restaurant news
:

The best little chaat house this side of the Mississippi

At Chai Pani, we serve a range of traditional Indian Street food, drinks, and thalis, but we also celebrate the innovation and evolution of food. Before the Portuguese brought the chili pepper to Goa in the early 1600’s, India had never tasted the fiery possibilities. Before the Beatles traveled to India, most Americans had never heard a sitar! Chef Meherwan never let his love of traditional Indian food stop him from asking the tough questions. Like, "What happens if I reinvent the traditional Kheema Pav and call it a 'Sloppy Jai'?" or "So Kale grows in the south... what happens if I dip it in an amazing Pakora batter and fry it up?" What happens?? You get yourself a Sloppy Jai and the best (and possibly the first) Kale Pakoras in, dare we say it, THE WORLD. Tough questions like these need to be asked, and by jove, Meherwan is not afraid to ask them. 

O U R    F O O D    P H I L O S O P H Y :

  • We purchase fresh produce daily from local purveyors and source from local farms when possible.
  • We use all natural, free range, sustainably raised chicken from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem, NC
  • We buy sustainably raised American lamb processed by Marcho Farms, PA.
  • Our tilapia comes from South America in accordance with the Monterey Bay Sustainable Seafood Watch Program guidelines.
  • We cook only in pure trans-fat free canola oil or ghee (clarified butter).
  • We use no artificial flavors, coloring or ingredients in anything, ever.
  • We roast and grind our own spice blends, and make all our chutneys and sauces in-house.
  • We don't serve on disposables to reduce waste in landfills.
  • Our to go containers are compostable, eco-friendly & biodegradable.
  • We recycle all paper, cardboard, plastic, glass & metal.
  • We are members of ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project) and support and respect our local farmers.
  • We are also members of Explore Asheville, Asheville's official tourism site.

FOLLOW US ON
FACEBOOK, TWITTER & INSTAGRAM:

Want to get our most recent news? We post to @chaipani on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram whenever we have exciting news to share about our specials, our amazing staff, work we're doing with and in the community, and more!

Need to get in touch with someone? We're happy to help!

 

ADDRESS: 22 Battery Park Ave, Asheville, NC 28801

PH: 828-254-4003

GENERAL INQUIRIES

WE DO NOT TAKE RESERVATIONS.
HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE MENU OR MERCHANDISE,
OR NOT SURE WHO TO TALK TO? USE THE FORM BELOW OR CONTACT: INFO@CHAIPANIasheville..COM

PRESS & MEDIA
ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING PRESS CAN BE FORWARDED TO:
MEDIAINQUIRIES@CHAIPANIasheville.COM

CATERING

If you want to party like it’s the end of a Bollywood movie then make your next event mindblasting with some affordable and delicious Chai Pani goodness. We can customize a catering order to fit any size and budget, and have venue rental available at our MG Road - our epic Bar & Lounge. For everything from birthday parties and wedding dinners to chef tasting menu dinners and company events, Chai Pani has you covered.** Inquire about a chef’s table!

FOR BOOKING AND INQUIRIES, PLEASE  SEND AN EMAIL TO: CATERING@CHAIPANIASHEVILLE.COM